Sometimes you just want to write a story.
Bronwyn leaned back after hours of slumping over her papers. She was displeased with the verbiage of the contract before her. Bronwyn had sold her father’s flat after her father passed from this temporal world months ago. His obsequies had been a small, private affair and he has nothing to leave Bronwyn but a tiny flat on the west side of London. She recalled a proverb her father used to quote to her; “Never let a fly have the largest part of the pie.” The buyers were trying to annul the agreement now, but really, this was but a minor nuisance and was not deserving of any more time today.
She yawned and stretched, blinking as if she had just woken up from a long nap. She took notice of the iridescent light dancing on the neighboring tables. Half of the windows in the pub were stained glass and often lit up the dark room with shards of magical brilliance. Bronwyn had always been drawn to this pub. It was an old converted church from the 1800s, and most of its character was still intact. Crumbling aqueducts surrounded the building. Years of sea and salt had left it in aqueous decay. Faint old pipe tobacco lingered, fingering the drapes. The scent of lemon oil wafted from the dark mahogany wood walls and bar. The stone floor had been pocked by history. The pub was mostly empty, as it often was this hour.
To the regulars and the staff, Bronwyn was a bit of an enigma. They considered her a bit of an eccentric recluse. She always sat alone. Her long dark hair curled wildly around her, willful coils rising like vipers from Medusa’s head. Her eyes were such a vibrant green they were almost shocking to look at. No one knew where she came from, what she did or why she was there, but she came every day, at the same time and sat in the same place. There had been a plethora of speculation by the staff and regulars but nothing could be substantiated. There was something powerful and intimidating about her and yet she always smiled warmly when the server brought her tea and she was an exceptionally generous tipper.
Bronwyn always sat in the back corner, facing the door. Her booth was her bastion against the world. She was an observer. No nuance of the pub was lost on her. She could smell which soup was going to be the “soup de jour” even before it was announced. She could smell which roast of coffee or beer was new today without the chalkboard announcement. She seemed impervious to the local pub chatter and neighborhood gossip.
One seemingly insignificant and dreary Tuesday a young man came bursting into the pub. He was saturated. Shaking the rain from his overcoat he made his way back to Bronwyn. He stood there for a long excruciating moment waiting for her permission to sit. He knew better than to approach Bronwyn ill-prepared or extemporaneously. James caught her scent. She smelled like bergamot and leather. She nodded at him. He hung his wet coat from the hook on the horizontal beam next to the booth, water puddling on the floor. He slid into the buttery leather booth seat facing her, again anxiously searching her face for permission. He did not dare to speak until she leaned forward and furtively smiled at him. Red lips parted, exposing her perfect white teeth. He reached out to touch her hand but thought better of it and withdrew it. ames knew Bronwyn was a stickler for protocol.
Bronwyn cocked her eyebrow at him. Hushed but intensely, he delivered tales of extortion and abominable threats of torture. He was blatantly concerned. The hapless lad gesticulated the urgency of his issue. “There is no contingency plan,” he finally sighed. After all was said, Bronwyn paused thoughtfully before gently and systematically gathering her loose papers into a leather folder. She reached across the table and took the young man’s cold hand into hers. “James, do not worry,” she cooed coolly, “I will take care of it.”
The young man sagged with relief and adducting his fingers around the effigy of Saint Christopher hanging around his neck and kissed it. With his free hand, he reached into his pocket and withdrew a compiled list of specifics. He slid it across the table to her. Bronwyn winked disarmingly, releasing his hand to unfold the paper. James sat inertly while her emerald eyes glanced over the illicit details. A smile returned to her face, but this time there was something sinister about it. One could tell that under her calm, cool, calculating veneer there was something dangerous about her. Bronwyn’s enmity for the unjust rose like bile in her belly.
James, sensing it was time for him to go, slid out of the booth and dropped to his knee. She turned to face him. He took her hand and brought it to his lips. He approached her without artifice and with complete adoration and devotion he thanked her. There was something poignant in the gesture. She brushed his damp dark hair with her fingertips and smile again. James rose, slipped on his soaking overcoat and quietly disappeared out into the deluge.
Patrons bent their heads in speculation, deducing she was a criminal of sorts. They had never seen anyone with Bronwyn; they had never heard her speak save the word “tea”. The obsequious barmaid dared to approach her. “Another cup of tea Miss? she gushed, wiping up the drops and dribbles of water from the table. Bronwyn smiled and held out her cup. Nervous, the barmaid thought she saw a menacing flicker in Bronwyn’s eyes The girl retreated with the cup and quickly returned with a fresh cup of tea.
Bronwyn nodded as the barmaid set the cup down and withdrew to the kitchen. What a simple, gullible girl Bronwyn thought to herself. No one had any idea how dangerous she was. Bronwyn had spent years mastering her volatile temper and dissimulating her annoyances. She was undaunted by the ubiquitous evil that had ferreted her out. Bronwyn would purge the pending horrors threatening James and the others. She would amend their plight. Bronwyn took threats made against those she cared about as an impious personal insult. Someone was stupid enough to insult her, however indirectly. Her special skill set was an asset coveted by anyone who had ever encountered her. While she was equitable, she had a knack for making people pay for their iniquities. Even the most hardened infamous felons were afraid of her. She was a “ghost”, a “legend” and her reputation for “taking care of things” preceded her. She could bring the most menacing prevaricating deviant to their knees. Bronwyn took the power and prerogative of her station seriously, the fact that she was only twenty-five was irrelevant.
Bronwyn finished her tea and collected her things into a worn but sleek black leather bag. She slipped out of the booth, drawing her red raincoat around her. She wrapped a cashmere black scarf around her throat. Bronwyn pulled payment and a generous tip out of her pocket and tucked it under her teacup. As she slung the bag over her shoulder and smiled disarmingly at the barmaid. An entering patron heaved the heavy wooden pub door open. Silently Bronwyn slipped out on to the dark glistening street. Not every hitman tips fifty pounds.